The FY 2014 overall expenditure of Westford General Fund Appropriation is $49,251,566 and the total school budget is $52,078,934.
School funding is slightly less than 95% from the General Fund Appropriation from the Town of Westford, with approximately $2.8 million coming from the other sources listed in this chart:
A summary of expenditure by state object code is below:
A significant portion of school funding and expenses can vary based on factors beyond local control. Some of these include:
- Special education tuition placements, and reimbursement from the state
- Overall funding formula from the state (Chapter 70)
Given that the bulk of our funds pay salaries, variations even in some of our smaller line items can have significant impacts on how much is left over for discretionary spending. Some of these include:
- Value and number of federal and state grants sought and received
- Placements of special needs student(s) in out-of-town schools with high tuitions
- New state mandates
- Recently mandated educator evaluation law required significant energy and time to implement
- Recent head injury law adds ongoing burdens of training, data collection, and data reporting
- English Language Learner training for staff
- Provisions for students under the new Expulsion/Exclusion Law
These uncertainties mean that a noticeable portion of our annual funding/expenditure is subject to change well into the school year.
Per Student Spending Benchmarks
On an expenditure per student basis, Westford invested $11,179, ranking #278 out of 328 districts (bottom 15%) listed according to the Massachusetts Department of Education based on 2010-2011 school year data. We are committed to continuing our history of very high achievement and very effective use of resources.
Below is a chart of academically competitive schools (as identified by the Boston Magazine rankings) listing a number of relevant metrics including per student expenditure:
Compared to other schools in our region (and including other economic data):
The per pupil expenditure figures are prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) and show a comprehensive of district spending per student. According to the DOE, “These calculations show all school operating expenditures including those outside the general fund such as grants, private donations, and revolving accounts. They include payments for local resident pupils who are being educated in schools outside the district. As well as showing the overall cost per pupil, they provide detail about how much schools spend in specific functional areas such as teaching, maintenance, and administration.”
Although Westford school enrollment is within 30 students of its peak level, enrollment at earlier grade levels is declining from this peak. The community has asked that we consider our projected facility utilization as part of our budgeting, in part to determine if we will require all of our existing facilities going forward.
Our total school population for 2013 is 5,281 students and our student population has been approximately level for the past six years.
A group was formed to perform a detailed analysis of school utilization with participants from the School Committee, the Finance Committee and the community. Their goal is to build an accurate current understanding of utilization and a model that we can update yearly going forward to help inform our decision-making. Their findings are available here.
To submit a question, please email SC Chair. All questions we be reviewed by the School Committee and all questions will receive an email response